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College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Brian S. Canfield, 2015 speaker at the annual Kent Wyatt Distinguished Lecture.

COEHS hosts second annual Kent Wyatt Distinguished Lecture

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education and Human Sciences, Faculty/Staff, Students | No Comments

The College of Education and Human Sciences recently hosted the second annual Kent Wyatt Distinguished Lecture at Delta State University. This year’s guest lecturer was Dr. Brian S. Canfield, professor of counseling in the Adrian Dominican School of Education at Barry University in Miami, Florida. Canfield’s speech was titled “Building Our Professional Community.”

The lecture series honors Dr. Forest Kent Wyatt, president emeritus of Delta State, whose distinguished career has served as a beacon for generations of educators, both in secondary and higher education.

Canfield shared his expertise on systems theories by providing practical applications of value driven change. In his research article, “The Dyadic Complexity Formula,” Canfield wrote about the dyadic relationship as the basic relationship of all social structure — from the couple, to the family, to the largest of corporate entities.

Canfield’s career in higher education has included professorships at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, Southeastern Louisiana University and the University of San Diego. Additionally, he has held academic administrative roles as a clinical director, department chair, associate dean and vice president for academic affairs.

Throughout his 30-year career, he has been active in professional service and leadership in the field of counseling. He is a fellow and former president of the American Counseling Association and a past president of the International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors.

Additionally, Canfield is an active speaker and workshop facilitator and has presented to universities and professional associations throughout the United States and abroad.

After the lecture, the COEHS recognized five outstanding alumni from the Division of Counselor Education and Psychology. The award recipients were Aretha Hargrove-Edwards, Virginia Tardy, Jonathan Grantham, Kelcey Steinriede and Jessica Willis.

Dr. Lisa Moon, second from left, and students Jerri Clemons and Claire Griffin at the Alabama/Mississippi Social Work Education Conference.

Dr. Lisa Moon, second from left, and students Jerri Clemons and Claire Griffin at the Alabama/Mississippi Social Work Education Conference.

In other faculty recognition news, Dr. Lisa Moon, chair of Delta State’s Department of Social Work, was recently named Social Work Educator of the Year at the Alabama/Mississippi Social Work Education Conference held in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in November.

The social work faculty also accompanied 23 students at the event. Two senior students, Jerri Clemons and Claire Griffin, competed and won the student poster competition for their research on the virtual dementia tour.

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Art gallery to screen film “Arranged”

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Community, Faculty/Staff, Students | No Comments

Delta State University’s Fielding Wright Art Center Gallery is currently hosting “Muslim/American, American/Muslim,” an exhibition by New York photographer Robert E. Gerhardt. The exhibit explores the Muslim experience in America.

In the spirit of Gerhardt’s project, the Department of Art and the Quality Enhancement Plan have partnered to present a series of events that provide a forum for dialogue. The series, free and open to the public, continues Dec. 3 at 5 p.m. with a public screening of the film “Arranged,” which centers on the unlikely friendship between an Orthodox Jewish and Muslim woman who meet as first-year teachers at a public school in Brooklyn. Over the course of the year, they learn they share much in common — including both going through the process of arranged marriages.

A group discussion will follow the screening, which will be held at the FWACG. Refreshments will be provided by Cleveland’s Adath Israel Synagogue.

Gerhardt’s exhibition will be open through Dec. 11. The gallery is open Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The gallery is closed weekends, holidays and during semester breaks.

For more information on the Department of Art, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-arts-and-sciences/art/or contact 662-846-4720. For updates and announcements of upcoming events, follow the department on Facebook, or join the email list.

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Fighting Okra Records to finalize artist search

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Delta Music Institute, Students | No Comments

Fighting Okra Records, a student-run record label at Delta State University, continued its search to find a new artist for the 2015-16 academic year by holding a performance showcase on Nov. 3 at the Delta Music Institute.

The event was held to review the five finalists competing to sign with FOR. The showcase was closed to the public, and the live performances were viewed by label members in order to give the artists a more realistic experience in dealing with record label executives.

FOR’s artist and repertoire team served as judges for the live performances and conducted the interviews that followed on Nov. 10. The artists were asked to perform two songs, one of which was included in the artist’s video submission.

An announcement of this year’s winner will be made following Thanksgiving break.

“We are excited about all the talent that came out to audition,” said Mic Hargrove, vice president of the label’s A&R team. “This is definitely going to be a hard decision.”

The interview portion of the competition served as a final step in the selection process. The interviews allowed the label members to determine which artist was the total package.

FOR is the driving component of the DMI’s Record Label Practicum course. The mission of FOR is to provide a practical, real-world music industry experience to the students and to provide a variety of independent artists with professional quality music industry services in an effort to expose their name in recordings to the broadest possible audience.

The Delta Music Institute is an independent center of study under the College of Arts & Sciences of Delta State University. The focus of the DMI is to provide students with a broad and thorough education in the technological, creative and business areas of the music and entertainment industry. For more information, contact Fighting Okra Records at 662-846-4579 or dmi.deltastate.edu.

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International Museum of Muslim Cultures to present in gallery

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Community | No Comments

Delta State University’s Fielding Wright Art Center Gallery is currently hosting “Muslim/American, American/Muslim,” an exhibition by New York photographer Robert E. Gerhardt. The exhibit explores the Muslim experience in America.

In the spirit of Gerhardt’s project, the Department of Art and the Quality Enhancement Plan have partnered to present a series of events that provide a forum for dialogue. The series, free and open to the public, continues Nov. 19 at 5 p.m. with a presentation by Emad Al-Turk and Okolo Rashid, founders of the International Museum of Muslim Cultures in Jackson, Mississippi. The duo will speak about the history and mission of the institution.

The museum was founded in 2000 by a group of Jackson-area Muslims who identified the need to educate the public about Islamic history and culture, and the contributions of Muslims to world civilization. The museum’s mission is to dispel misconceptions about Muslim cultures and promote mutual respect and understanding. The program was developed by a team of national and international scholars, experts and community members.

The museum’s exhibitions have sought to highlight the diversity of Muslim cultures with exhibitions on American mosques, Moorish Spain and its legacy in Europe and the West, and the literary tradition of Timbuktu.

The International Museum of Muslim Cultures is open to the public Tuesday-Friday, as well as by appointment. It offers personalized tours for schools and private groups.

Al-Turk, who holds master’s degrees in civil engineering and business administration, worked as an entrepreneur and executive in the engineering and construction business. He has a long career in civic service, serving on the boards of a number of non-profit organizations.

The final installment of the series is a public screening of the film “Arranged,” which centers on the unlikely friendship between an Orthodox Jew and Muslim teacher in New York. The screening will be held at the FWACG beginning at 5 p.m.

The FWACG is open Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The gallery is closed weekends, holidays and during semester breaks.

For more information on the department of art, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-arts-and-sciences/art/or contact 662-846-4720. For updates and announcements of upcoming events, follow Delta State Art Department on Facebook, or join the email list.

Jenni Owen '15, right, participated in the new Prison-to-College Pipeline Program at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, Miss., thanks to a connection Dr. Chuck Westmoreland, assistant professor of history, had with the program's leaders.

Graduate participates in groundbreaking Parchman program

By | Alumni, College of Arts and Sciences, Community, Faculty/Staff, Students | No Comments

One recent Delta State graduate shined brightly last summer while working with imprisoned students at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman.

Jenni Owen, who completed her Liberal Studies Master of Arts in English with a focus on criminology in May of 2015, had the unique opportunity of participating in the groundbreaking Prison-to-College Pipeline Program at Parchman.

Owen became the program’s instructional associate through the help of Dr. Chuck Westmoreland, assistant professor of history at Delta State. Westmoreland put her in touch with the program’s leaders, Dr. Otis Pickett, assistant professor of history at Mississippi College, and Dr. Patrick Elliot Alexander, assistant professor of English and African American studies at the University of Mississippi.

The two professors were leading the new 10-week course on the civil rights movement to a group of students imprisoned at Parchman. During the course, students learned about a number of civil rights leaders, including Fannie Lou Hammer, who is remembered for her roots in nearby Ruleville.

The course also provided essential guidance in the rehabilitation and assimilation of imprisoned students into the general civilian population once their sentences are served.

Dr. Otis Pickett (l to r), Owen and Dr. Patrick Elliot Alexander.

Dr. Otis Pickett (left), Owen and Dr. Patrick Elliot Alexander.

“It was amazing getting to know the gentlemen in the facility,” said Owen. “Many of them had a strong passion for education, and I was grateful for the opportunity to get to know the men as individuals.

“The highlight of my experience was when I was able to work with the men one-on-one and assist them with their writing, or help tailor solutions to their specific needs,” she added. “For example, there was one student who had a hard time seeing words when reading, so I tried to write notes for him in a larger font so he could read the documents more easily.

“There was another student interested in writing poetry, so I brought Natasha Trethewey’s ‘Native Guard’ to share with him. Also, after my first session, I saw the eagerness of the men to learn, so I asked friends and family for donations and we were able to purchase a book for the gentlemen to continue reading once the course was through.”

Owen, who now works as an adjunct instructor of English at Holmes Community College in Yazoo City completed her undergraduate internship at the Stark County Sheriff’s Office in Ohio and wrote her thesis on officer communication in domestic violence situations. Thus began her interest in the criminal justice system.

When she began her studies at Delta State, she learned about bibliotherapy or therapeutic reading programs. Owen, with her criminology background, focused on how literature can help rehabilitate those who are incarcerated. This interest made her a qualified candidate to help with the Parchman program.

“The Prison-to-College program taught me to have more confidence in myself and my abilities,” said Owen. “The students were so grateful that I was there. At first I was a bit intimidated to be working with such respected professors, and was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to bring anything to the class, but by being genuinely me, I found that I could contribute and help the students.

“I also learned about some of the real struggles the students were going through. They were taking a college level class during the hottest months of the year, but they were still doing their best to complete their reading and writing assignments. The students put in so much effort to be able to participate in the class. Their dedication was amazing.”

Westmoreland said Owen’s commitment to the criminal justice system is just one of her strong points.

“Jenni has a strong commitment to helping others, and because of that, we are very proud of her work with the Prison-to-College Pipeline Program,” said Westmoreland. “As a student in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program, Jenni approached her work with a clear sense of mission and purpose. She wanted to integrate her passion for literature and the English language with a desire to help incarcerated people. Thanks to the wide variety of graduate courses offered in English and criminology, she was very prepared to work with the students in the pipeline program.

“She has done great work and will continue to make a positive impact on people who are too often forgotten in our society,” he added.

As the program continues to grow, Owen fully intends to remain involved.

“I’m currently planning on participating in the program at Parchman again this coming summer with Dr. Alexander and Dr. Pickett,” she said. “I look forward to assisting more with the educational aspect of the program and helping the students increase their writing skills.”

Owen said she will also help as the program plans to expand to the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl under the leadership of Pickett and Dr. Stephanie R. Rolph, assistant professor of history at Millsaps College.